Vancouver Career Spotlight: Financial Analyst

Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.

William Xu is currently working as a Financial Analyst at Digital Domain in Vancouver.  He completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at the University of British Columbia.


Why did you choose this career path?

I am passionate about data analytics and finance. I am also very interested in stock markets and that is one of the reasons I chose to specialize in finance. Throughout my studies at UBC, and through my previous work experience as a Research Assistant and Category Analyst, I developed solid skills in data analysis and financial analysis.

What are your main responsibilities?

As a Financial Analyst, my main responsibilities include:

  • Building project financial models in Excel to enhance automation and improve the company’s business processes across divisions.
  • Developing utilization and capacity models for resource planning.
  • Overseeing our projects’ financial health and writing summary reports.
  • Inventing Excel models to examine the company’s earning quality.

What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement? 

There are many avenues of opportunity with a degree in Finance, including: Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, Equity Research Analyst/Associate, Private Equity Analyst, and Consultant roles.

For a Financial Analyst, the career advancement path could start with being a Financial Analyst, then Senior Financial Analyst, and then management roles. Career progressions depend on the individual and the organization.  For someone seriously pursuing a career in Finance, I would recommend getting the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

What kind of person would like this career? 

I believe the kind of person who would like this career would be someone who is good at quantitative analysis in finance and programming.  Someone who also has strong communication skills and enjoys working in a team would enjoy this career path as well.

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What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?

People pursuing a career in finance are generally very good at: quantitative analysis, investment management, financial engineering, economics, computer science, mathematics and statistics.

What type of education would you typically need to work in this career? 

People who work in the finance career field typically have undergraduate degrees.  If your university offers a co-op program or internship, take advantage of it as it will be helpful for your career development and for finding a job after graduation.

What are the best programs to get this education?

I got my business and finance education at the University of British Columbia at the Sauder School of Business. If you are looking outside of Vancouver, Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto also has an awesome program in business.

What types of organizations would typically hire a Finance professional?

A wide variety of companies would hire for a skillset in data analysis and financial analysis.  Nowadays, big data and artificial intelligence are in hot demand.  Industries that you can work in include: technology, investment, healthcare, education, and more.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in Finance?

My advice would be to have a curious mindset and keep learning. It may lead to more opportunities in the field and bring pleasant surprises. Even if there is no immediate result, it is always good for the future and there is nothing to lose through continuous learning.

I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the finance career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.


More information about Financial Analysts in BC:

WorkBC – Financial and investment analysts (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)

WorkBC – Financial managers

Finance Jobs | Finance Community

Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):

University of British Columbia | Simon Fraser University | Capilano University

Douglas College | Langara College | University of the Fraser Valley

Note: Not all post-secondary schools are listed. To find a school in your area, you can use EducationPlannerBC.

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